Woman critically injured in OC blaze

BUENA PARK Firefighters cleared the charred debris Friday as investigators searched for a cause to the devastating and destructive blaze.

Click in the Eyewitness News story window above to watch Leanne Suter's report from the scene of the fire.

"It was a huge fireball, bigger than any house fire I have ever seen. In this front bedroom they came in and they started putting it out and it burst right back up again," said neighbor Michael Clark.

"There were flames coming out of every opening of the house, all of the windows and the doors," said Capt. Mike Blawn from the O.C. Fire Authority.

The fire was so hot that several of the firefighters helmets were damaged. The blaze erupted just before 6 a.m. on San Benito Way in Buena Park.

Forty-one-year-old Cindy Hoth was asleep in one room. A friend and her 17-year-old son who were staying with Hoth were in another part of the house.

Neighbors say that they heard a loud explosion followed by several smaller ones.

The 17-year-old jumped out of a window and ran next door to get help.

"His hair was on fire and he was looking for a garden hose. One of ours is right there. He was bleeding because there was blood on the porch," said

The teen received minor injuries, but his mother was critically burned. Hoth and a firefighter were injured as well. Three dogs in the house died in the blaze.

At this point investigators do not know what sparked the fire. Family members say that they are grateful that everyone survived, but know that they face a long road ahead.

"Part of it is that they have loss all the stuff that they have worked for. It would be hard to start from scratch," said the victim's father James Smith.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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